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High Vitamin B3 linked to higher heart disease risk

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 2 months ago

A recent study led by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic has found that taking a B vitamin supplement containing niacin may increase the risk of heart disease. Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, was once recommended for lowering cholesterol until statin drugs proved to be more effective.

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, revealed that as many as 1 in 4 people have higher-than-recommended levels of niacin in their bodies. When niacin is broken down in the body, it produces a byproduct called 4PY, which triggers inflammation in the circulatory system. This inflammation can damage blood vessels and lead to the buildup of atherosclerosis, significantly increasing the risk of heart problems such as strokes or heart attacks.

Senior author Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, emphasized the importance of avoiding niacin supplements due to the potential link to cardiovascular disease. The researchers conducted the study to investigate unknown risks of heart disease, as it remains a leading cause of death in the United States despite preventive measures such as a healthy diet, exercise, and managing weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

The findings of the study shed light on the "niacin paradox," where the supplement was found to lower cholesterol but also posed risks to heart and blood vessel health. This paradox has puzzled scientists for years, and the recent study helps to explain why niacin may have adverse effects that counteract its benefits.

Hazen suggested that a discussion on whether continued fortification of flour and cereal with niacin in the U.S. is warranted in light of these findings. While cutting out niacin entirely is not a realistic approach, the study highlights the need for further research on the potential risks associated with niacin supplementation.

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